Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper film, won’t arrive in theaters for over six months — which means we have six more months to continue obsessing about it! As part of Vulture’s laserlike focus on this film, last night we spoke with one of its stars, Matt Bomer, about the project. Bomer also stars in USA’s frothy procedural White Collar, which began airing new episodes last night, and we caught up with him at a dinner celebrating the show’s premiere. Bomer spoke with us about the difference between male and female strippers, his Ken Doll routine, and the extra who licked him.
Your friend and Magic Mike co-star Joe Manganiello guest-stars in an upcoming episode of White Collar. He asks you at one point, “Do you like strip clubs?” and then he takes you to one. Had you done Magic Mike already when you shot this?
No, and we didn’t know that we would be. How crazy is that? [Chuckles.] I didn’t know we’d be going down the Dionysian rabbit hole together. We had no idea. It was literally synchronicity. But I’ve known Joe for fifteen years. Having him in Magic Mike made it a lot easier. He made me feel a lot more comfortable.
You guys went to college together — when you were doing musical theater at Carnegie Mellon. So you already have a dance background …
Yeah, definitely a very different kind of dance! [Someone asks if he means pole dancing.] Not pole dancing. I couldn’t do that! Women do different routines. Male strip clubs are more of a show. The production value was actually surprisingly high. The difference between men at strip clubs and women at strip clubs is that when women go, they want more of an experience. They also go in packs, and they go to laugh. But hey, it’s high time we turn the tables and objectify some men! And we’re all different types. Variety is the spice of life! It’s not just beefcake. We needed a skinny man, too! But I think there will be some surprises in there, and some heart. It’s very Altman-esque, the way the stories come together, and showing that world a lot like Boogie Nights and Saturday Night Fever.
What did you do to prep?
I studied with this group the Hollywood Men, in L.A. They let me go backstage and onstage with them.
Onstage, like you performed with them?
Onstage, with them. Not dancing. I was sitting up there, observing. They have this thing called the Hot Seat, where the girls come up and get a lap dance onstage, and so I was seeing what that was like.
Did you get to help come up with your own routine any, based on your research? Or was it all the choreographer?
Alison Faulk — she’s worked with Britney Spears — she’s incredible. She came up with everything, but we got to improvise for our characters. I got to vary it based on what I thought my character would do for his routines. The goal was to always keep it based on the character, to play off that, and to accentuate the things like he would. His goal is to make money, so how does he get his dollars? What would this character do?
What was your routine like? You have a doctor theme?
I have two routines: Dr. Love and Ken Doll.
Because your character is named Ken?
Yes, his name is Ken, and his Ken Doll is Plasticine, well put together, and it’s a play on the fantasy. What if a little girl’s Ken Doll came to life? Wasn’t that your fantasy? I don’t know if little girls fantasized about that, but we go there.
Clearly one of the extras in the film did — based on her reaction to your bump-and-grind.
She just started licking me! [Laughs.] I’ve got to save the story for June.
And clearly Kelly Ripa fantasized about it, because she said she wanted to nurse the photo of you …
[Laughs.] We’ve had some good photos leaked.
And it’s a good fit for White Collar, since all you really wear in that shot is the collar and tie.
Got to wear a collar — it’s in the contract. You got to wear something. We pretty much all got down to our thongs, although one of us, his thong got kind of ripped off. That’s not going to make the film.